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degree of being an offence and a scorn to men of less tuned and tranquil feelings." All who arc acquainted with the works of the old religious painters of Italy, Giotto, I'erugino, Angelico, must recollect how saint balances saint on opposite sides of the composition; "if there be a kneeling figure on one side, there is a corresponding one on the other; the attendant angels beneath and above are arranged in like order." By skilful violations of symmetry artists may heighten the expression of passion and produce sublime pictures, "but they lose proportionately in the Diviner quality of beauty." I would venture to suggest that symmetry, though an infallible test of the presence of art, belongs to art rather in its initial than in its higher stages. The savage is becoming an artist so soon as he delights in arranging lines in symmetrical patterns or in matching colors. Symmetry prevails in the old art of Italy, both because it promotes solemnity, and because the old art of Italy, being completely subordinate to religion, was, as art, in a state of infancy and imperfection. The immediate perception of symmetry in a picture—its prominence and unmistakability—mark the work as too stiff and quaint to possess the higher attributes of beauty. The symmetry that is most precious in art is always unsymmetrical—the right measure of deviation from obvious and absolute symmetry being the secret of genius, not definable in words.
Purity, the fifth element of typical beauty, symbolizes Divine energy. Believing that our ideas of impurity " refer especially to conditions of matter in which its various elements are placed in a relation incapable of healthy or proper operation, and most distinctly to conditions in which the negation of vital or energetic action is most evident, as in corruption and decay of all kinds," he supposes "that pureness is made to us desirable, because expressive of that constant presence and energizing of the Deity by which all things live and move, and have their being; and that foulness is painful as the accompaniment of disorder and decay, and always indicative of the withdrawal of Divine support." In human life outward foulness goes " with mental sloth and degradation, as well as with bodily lethargy and disease," and freshness and purity belong to every healthy organic frame, as to "the young leaves when first their inward energy prevails over the earth, pierces its corruption, and shakes its dust away from their own white purity of life." Last of all, " with the idea of purity comes that of spirituality; for the essential characteristic of matter is its inertia, whence, by adding to it purity or energy, we may in some measure spiritualize even matter itself." These are beautiful and suggestive ideas, worthy of careful meditation, but Ruskin does not give us particular instances by which to define their application to painting. I shall not undertake to supply the want, but I think that if we recall the loveliest faces we have seen from the hand of Reynolds, and the loveliest landscapes we have seen from the hand of Turner, we shall feel that the pure glow of the one and the bright vivacity of the other are connected with the expression of strenuous life in man and in nature. Turner's supremacy among landscape-painters depended, next to his imaginative invention, on his power of showing the light on the leaf and the life in the branch.
The list of symbolic elements of beauty is closed with moderation, the type of Divine government by law. Ruskin holds that, in contemplating lines and colors, we may trace "an undercurrent of constantly agreeable feeling, excited by the appearance in material things of a self-restrained liberty; that is to say, by the image of that acting of God with regard to all His creation, wherein, though free to operate in whatever arbitrary, sudden, violent, or inconstant ways he will, he yet, if we may reverently so speak, restrains in himself this his omnipotent liberty, and works always in consistent modes, called by us laws." Whether he succeeds or fails in pointing out an element or influence of restraint in nature, he has no hesitation
in pronouncing moderation a primary law of art, and dwclls with eloquent enthusiasm on its importance. "I have put this attribute of beauty last, because I consider it the girdle and safeguard of all the rest, and in this respect the most essential of all; for it is possible that a certain degree of beauty may be attained even in the absence of one of its other constituents, as sometimes in some measure without symmetry or without unity. But the least appearance of violence or extravagance, j of the want of moderation and restraint, is, I think, destructive' of all beauty whatsoever in everything—color, form, motion, | language, or thought: giving rise to that which in color we call . glaring, in form inelegant, in motion ungraceful, in language coarse, in thought undisciplined, in all unchastened; which qualities are in everything most painful, because the signs of disobedient and irregular operation." In the essential beauty of moderation he finds the reason why curves which approach the straight line are more beautiful than those which fall into "wide and far license of curvature," and why the "pure and severe" curves of the draperies in religious pictures are beautiful. In color rose is lovelier than red; gray-green, " or such pale green and uncertain as we sec in simset sky and in the clefts of the glacier and the chrysoprase," is more beautiful than the strong green of summer foliage. "The very brilliancy and real power of all color is dependent on the chastening of it, as of a voice on its gentleness, and as of action on its calmness, and as all moral vigor on self-command. And therefore," says Mr. Ruskin, in conclusion, "as that virtue which men last, and with most difficulty attain unto, and which many attain not at all, and yet that which is essential to the conduct and almost to the being of all other virtues; since neither imagination, nor invention, nor industry, nor sensibility, nor energy, nor any other good having, is of full avail without this of self-command, whereby works truly masculine and mighty are
produced, and by the signs of which they are separated from that lower host of things brilliant, magnificent, and redundant, and farther yet from that of the loose, the lawless, the exaggerated, the insolent, and the profane; I would have the necessity of it foremost among all our inculeating, and the name of it largest among all our inscribing, in so far that, over the doors of every School of Art, I would have this one word, relieved out in deep letters of pure gold—Moderation."
There is room for debate as to the strictly scientific value, whether aesthetic or theological, of this doctrine of typical beauty. It is not in nature but in man that we have the most vivid revelation of God—in his image, not in his works. If the worship of God's visible works, instead of his invisible and immaterial essence, is what all the greatest seers of human history have denounced as the cardinal sin, idolatry, ought we not to be on our guard against any such sentiment of reverence, in contemplating the aspects of nature, as is legitimately suggested by the beauty of moral perfection? On the other hand, though we may refuse to admit that nature is either God, or the image of God, or the immediate operation of God, we cannot altogether disconnect nature from the Creator, or hesitate to admit that it is what it is by Divine ordinance. This consideration furnishes, perhaps, a sufficient basis for Ruskin's scheme. The habit of dwelling with feelings of grateful adoration on the beautiful and benignant aspects of nature, as proofs of the benignity and glory of the Maker, has characterized devout minds from the days of Job and of David. "The fact," says Ruskin, "of our deriving constant pleasure from whatever is a type or semblance of Divine attributes, and from nothing but that which is so, is the most glorious of all that can be demonstrated of human nature; it not only sets a great gulf of specific separation between us and the lower animals, but it seems a promise of a communion, ultimately deep, close,